Occupy Wall St. by Jessi Bautisa








"Occupy Wall Street began in New York City on September 17, 2011, and there are now over 1,000 ‘Occupied Cities’ worldwide. In spite of an extreme lack of media coverage during the first two weeks of the protest in NYC, the movement is now swarming social media sites and receiving international attention as it gains momentum. More often than not, the Occupy Movement is portrayed as left wing protests without any broad support. This is simply not the case.

The people who are present in Liberty Square vary from day to day, but consistently one can find an extremely diverse variety of people and ideas. In one day alone, there was a man reading the Constitution aloud, another man waving the Puerto Rican flag and wearing signs demanding Puerto Rican independence, quotes on signs from FDR, Walt Whitman, and the Declaration of Independence. There are groups encouraging people to sign petitions against fracking, a dangerous method of fossil fuel extraction, as well as groups supporting a hunger strike among California Prisoners. There are Socialists and Marxists just feet away from avid Ron Paul supporters. At least one supporter in Liberty Square was a former trader on Wall Street, who said he saw how investors continue to turn a profit even after the economy began falling. There are public high school teachers and union members in the same square, supporting the same movement as anarchists.

This is not a typical protest. It does not have one clear goal, or even one clear issue to rally around. The biggest goal for now seems to be simply acknowledging some of the great financial and political issues of our times, and creating an open dialogue to deal with them. Because this is a leaderless movement, where organization comes from the bottom up instead of the top down, organization and clarity of purpose is slower to happen, but when it does, perhaps the ideas as a whole will be more valuable.

University of Michigan Professor Scott E. Page published a book in 2008 called “The Difference: How the Power of Diversity Creates Better Groups, Firms, Schools and Societies” (Princeton University Press). In an article by the New York Times shortly after the book was published, Professor Page suggests that productivity “is in messy, creative organizations and environments with individuals from vastly different backgrounds and life experiences.” He argues that “diverse groups of people bring to organizations more and different ways of seeing a problem and, thus, faster/better ways of solving it.” While the diversity of the Occupy Wall Street group may seem overwhelming and lead one to wonder what may come of it, another approach could be taken.

Perhaps the diversity of the group is it’s most valuable asset. Perhaps the true purpose of the movement is to discuss the problems and come up with real solutions for real Americans. The problems at hand do not affect just one group of people and cannot be answered with one ‘demand.’ They are as vast and varied as the people protesting, and should be approached with an open-mindedness to create solution(s) which benefit the entire nation."

Jessi Bautisa


photography portfolio site at www.jessibautista.com.